Preparing to Board - One Month till My Life Changes
Updated: Sep 23, 2021
T - 1 Month, 5 Hours, and 12 Minutes
I chose to apply for the Mercy Ships in December 2020. At that time I was finishing my last semester of university so I was thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. I was praying about it for weeks and, one night, Mercy Ships popped into my head.
My grandma, MaryAnn McLean (now Westgard), went on the Anastasis 34 years ago and I grew up hearing about her time on the ship. I never thought that I’d serve too; but here I am getting ready to board the flights that will fly me across the world to join my brothers and sisters in Christ.
It has been 8 months since I applied and it has been a wild ride to say the least. So much has happened in that short period of time but I wouldn’t change a thing. I won’t bore you with the long preamble of how I got to where I am. I’ll just start with where I am now with a month until I board my flight in Calgary, Alberta to Las Palmas, Spain where the Africa Mercy Ship is docked.
When I started the application process I never knew that there would be so much to prepare for. And I’m not just speaking about the logistics either. I was prepared to handle the logistics of uprooting my life for 6 months.
No, what took me by surprise was the mental and spiritual preparations. The past week it sort of just hit me that I am a month away from flying halfway around the world where I’ll be working on a ship that is literally doing God’s work. I’ll be away from everything I know and am comfortable with for 6 months and I will have only God to lean on (until I immerse myself in the community anyways).
Now this is a lot for anyone but it’s especially hard for me to wrap my head around since I suffer from clinical depression and anxiety. Both are stable with medication but it is still a daily endeavor. So the idea that I will be living through such a massive change like this, where I have no familiar faces to help me, is a bit overwhelming. But these are exactly the mental and spiritual preparations I have to make. The last few days I've been really focusing on embedding it in my mind that I will not struggle because God is on my side. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13). I find myself saying this verse in my head over and over again.
Focusing on fear will get me nowhere. I have to think about the people on board and pray that they will accept me.
There is an online community called my.mercy that is filled with current and past conversations from people who also were in my position. At the beginning I combed through the site looking for useful information and was confronted by encouragement. Anytime someone posts saying they are coming aboard or are waiting for a position the crew reply with cheerful notes about how welcome they are. I know in my heart that this will be the ‘vibe’ on the ship. It is just a matter of convincing my devious subconscious that this is the case.
Anyway, the biggest emotion that I am feeling right now is excitement. I am thrilled to meet all the people on the ship. From coworkers to cabin-mates, I can’t wait to meet them all. I’ve never felt like I belonged but I have a suspicion that I will feel at home surrounded by like minded people once I board the AFM.
God has been calling me for years to do my part in making the world a better place but I didn’t know this was what he wanted me to do until now. It all finally makes sense and I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally fulfill my calling.